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He Passed His Engineering Board Examination on His Fifth Take

Try and Try Until You Succeed

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Engineering Board Examination



Failing the board exam is a huge heartbreak for engineering graduates in the Philippines, at least to those who take courses which are regulated by the Professional Regulation Commission. It doesn’t help that after four or five grueling years of engineering study, which most likely already involved failures, you are also going to feel the burden of not passing the board exam.

That’s simply crushing your dream to become an engineer.

It hurts to feel that you are not good enough, to realize that you are not destined for that course. Or to think that you do not have what it takes.

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Now imagine that feeling three times more. That is what Edwin Icydor Paragas II experienced for falling short in his board exam not only once, not twice, not thrice, but four times.

When he took the electronics engineering board exam in October 2009 right after he graduated, Edwin thought he was prepared.

That’s only what he thought as he did not make it on his first take.

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He told in an e-mail interview that he was surprised with the results because the entire time that he was studying engineering, he did not fail his subjects. Only during the board exam he did fail miserably.

But the National University alum apparently did not quit on him.

He braved the April 2010 board exam, but ended up unsuccessful.

Being the winner in life that he is, Edwin took the October 2010 exam.

Unfortunately, he failed again.

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The third time could have been the charm but Edwin just did not have the luck.

He pushed himself to take the next board exam, which was in April 2011.

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He still did not find his name in the list of passers.

At that point, it was easy for him to just give up. Because come on… four times?

The universe must be telling you something about it, that the engineering license is not really for you.

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However, that is not how Edwin interpreted the situation. He thought that sometimes a ‘no’ does not really mean a ‘no’ but a ‘not yet.’ Even when you have been rejected four times.

With already four board exam failures, Edwin faced the October 2011 examination. Finally, he passed.

It took him 5 board exam takes to get his engineering license.

And note that before he took each board exam, he attended a review center. For his last take, he went to two review centers for their refresher courses.

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All the sweat is no doubt worth it as the 29-year-old electronics engineer is now working as a Senior Planning and Scheduler Engineer at the Al-Rushaid Construction Company Ltd- Engineering Equipment Incorporated in Yanbu, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

That would not be possible if he called it quits with his board exam.

Supplied Photo: Engineering Board Examination 5th Take

Below is a transcript of the e-mail interview Edwin and I shared.

He tells what was his motivation to keep going, his expectations after the board exam, his reaction towards finally passing, and an advice or two for engineering graduates who have been in the same situation.

What keeps you motivated to try and try again? Who is your inspiration?
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I want to prove to myself that I will be an engineer in the future, in the right time and the right reason.

My inspiration in life is my family who keeps on supporting me in my dreams and giving me words of wisdom that I can win this battle of my life.

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How did you feel upon knowing that you failed the exam (regardless of the number of times)? Did you somehow expect it or were you totally surprised?
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Nobody deserves to fail but sometimes it happens so you will become more motivated and inspired to do your best in reaching your dreams.

Somehow, I was surprised because it is only during the board exam that I failed.

In the entire time of my study, I passed my subjects.

Upon finally passing the exam, what did you realize that went wrong in your other takes? What was the difference on the last take?
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I was so overwhelmed when I passed the board exam because I did not expect it.

But the difference was more on the study habits that I did.

I changed them as a different strategy.

Obviously it worked. I become more focused and determined to study harder to get my license.

What did you do right after you passed? How did you celebrate?
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What I did was I went to the Church immediately and thank God for allowing me to pass the board exam.

I celebrated it with a simple gathering surrounded by my family and loved ones.

Give an advice or two to aspiring engineers who are still struggling to pass their board examination right now.   
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My advice for them is to put God in the center of their lives.

Also to study harder and to have self-discipline in order for them to succeed.

What is the most important lesson that you have learned in this experience?
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The most important lesson that I have learned is to have more patience and to seek guidance in our Almighty God in guiding me whenever I face my life’s battles.

More “Not So” Topnotcher Stories

How to Pass the Engineering Board Exams: Tips from a Not-so Topnotcher

If You Are Not a Licensed Engineer, You Are Still An Engineer

Two Guys Who Posed as Engineers Have Faked Their Professional License for 11 Years


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Engr. Amy Aguirre
Civil Engineer, fashion model & GineersNow TV host. Speaks Spanish, English and Portuguese fluently. Based in Melbourne and Manila. Follow me on Linkedin


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  1. Such an inspiring story. I could relate to it personally. I’ve been in his footstep when I was taking also my Electrical Engineering License and it took me 3x to fail and finally on my 4th, I finally did it.

  2. i have classmate on college that so close to this story he takes board exam for electrical engr. 6x before he passed it..really inspiring..he never give up..

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